Local efforts continue to bring a four-year California State University to the Coachella Valley.
The current CSU campus in Palm Desert serves as a satellite location for CSU San Bernardino — more than 60 miles away.
The Coachella Valley Economic Partnership and others are working to change that.
“We have a more compelling story for a need for a four-year comprehensive university with STEM degrees than anywhere else in the United States,” said Joe Wallace, CEO, Coachella Valley Economic Partnership.
“Can you imagine...a 500,000 population without a four-year state university?” he said.
Wallace says the Coachella Valley is the only place in the country with a population that large, without a four-year state university.
CVEP along with local assemblymembers have been working on a bill. They requested $100 million from the California budget to expand the current Palm Desert satellite campus.
Unfortunately last month, the request was not approved.
“It didn’t happen. But there’s still a second opportunity for this budget and it’s in what are called trailer bills,” explained Wallace.
Wallace says they will try again and should get an answer by early next year.
“There were people at the state level who wanted to prioritize housing over expansion of a campus,” he shared.
He says a four-year university can’t come soon enough.
“Imagine you’re a CEO and you want to bring a company here to do cybersescurity. Or gaming. And you can’t even hire one local graduate,” he said.
Wallace says that educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics are critical to the valley’s future economic success.
“In all fairness if you look at how the rest of California is served...it’s our turn. Get us on the prosperity path too,” he said.
Wallace says they’re not giving up on their proposal — adding if you’d like to help them, the best thing you can do is let California assemblymembers and senators know. He says you can write to them expressing your support.